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Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte

Print version ISSN 1517-8692
On-line version ISSN 1806-9940


FARIAS JUNIOR, José Cazuza de  and  SILVA, Kelly Samara da. Overweight/obesity in adolescent students from the city of João Pessoa, PB, Brazil: prevalence and association with demographic and socioeconomic factors. Rev Bras Med Esporte [online]. 2008, vol.14, n.2, pp.104-108. ISSN 1517-8692.

OBJECTIVES: Overweight/obesity in childhood and adolescence has been described as one of the greatest public health problems of current times, in recognition of the rapid growth in its prevalence and its relationship with many different health problems. In this idea, the objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of overweight/obesity in high school adolescents from the city of João Pessoa, PB, and to analyze its relationship with demographic and socio-economic factors. METHODS: The study sample consisted of 2,402 high school students (public and private schools), aged 14 to 18 years (16.5±0.2). In addition to demographic details (age and sex) and socio-economic data (economic class, parents educational background), the students reported their body weight (kg) and height (cm). Overweight/obesity was determined based on body mass index (BMI= weight[kg]/stature[m2]) according to criteria proposed by the International Obesity Task Force. RESULTS: The prevalence of overweight/obesity was 10% and was more common among boys than girls (13.5% vs. 7.4%, prevalence ratio [PR]=1.82; 95%CI=1.42-2.32) and had no association with age in either sex. Results of a multivariate analysis found evidence of greater probability of overweight/obesity among boys from higher economic classes (PR=2.75; 95%CI=1.56-4.82). Conversely, among the girls the probability of overweight/obesity was lower for girls whose parents had a higher education background level (PR=0.42; 95%CI=0.21-0.87). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of overweight/obesity among adolescent students in João Pessoa, PB was similar to what has been observed in other Brazilian studies. The richer boys and poorer girls were the subsets with the greatest chance of exhibiting overweight/obesity. Within this context, intervention actions should take into consideration the different prevalence rates of overweight/obesity in different demographic and socio-economic strata.

Keywords : overweight; obesity; adolescent; socio-economic factors; demographic factors.

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